The Sorrows LP
Imbolg have self-produced an album of goth-rock tracks that revive the doomy wonderland of the NYC metal scene. We love rock music cast in tenebrous Gothic gloom – and it’s got an angel on the front cover – so we were excited to give their album a spin.
To contextualise the new album, we skipped back to listen to their eponymous debut album first, to get a feel for how the band has progressed. From a historical perspective, the first album was circa 2014 and the new album has a listing for 2018 and 2022, so a re-release is in the picture here.
That’s a rough history. The band themselves are named after the ancient spring festival, Imbolg (also known as Imbolc), which marks the start of spring. Their music converges midway between Type O Negative’s ‘My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend’ and The Munsters’ theme, which is a fine place to be (especially the case in ‘Red Devil’.
The production on this record is reasonable for a self-produced record. Yes, there are lots of things an engineer would want to tweak and a producer would have worked with the band to resolve some elements of the record. Compared to the debut, this recording is less muddy. The clarity benefits the instruments. Anyway, the rough patches would be more important if there weren’t some nice ideas in the songs.
The first song I want to highlight is ‘Edward’. There’s a nice thick intro, smothered in synth but with fuzzy guitar and bass that are happy to slide in to compete with the atmospheric strings. The guitars back off for the verse, where the bass should probably have kept all the punch of the intro. The chorus has a great rhythmic hook and the slide back into the intro is highly satisfying.
‘Disappeared’ and ‘Paler Still’ take things down a Joy Division path, which works well. Punchy bass lines drive the song along and there’s plenty of space in the sound to make interesting things happen in the chorus.
The one suggestion I’d make to this band is to smother the lead vocal in confidence. Conceptually it’s doing the right things, but it should do them more. Where the voice gets more angsty, it should be even more so and when it stabs into the song, it should stab deeper.
The album is certainly enjoyable and there are not enough bands in this space. Is there work to do? Yeah, a bit – but they have songs and the rest is forgivable. I love the vibe and think they’re great. Gimme more ‘Red Devil’, ‘Paler Still’, and ‘Edward’.
Written by Fenton on